Our OPAL Adventure
We have 3 new play areas for the children to access at lunchtimes and they are loving the new additions of our OPAL project!
Exciting news! Our loose parts storage shed arrived in half term and Mr James is busy assembling it. It's going to be a great addition to the playground and will mean that children can access the equipment independently.
The OPAL team met with our new OPAL mentor Libby and Neil for our first development meeting. We shared some of the things that we have already introduced and implemented at Riverside. During the afternoon, we discussed some quick 'playtime wins' and updated our OPAL action plan. We are looking forward to our new storage shed arriving after half term. Plans for a large sandpit area and mud kitchen were also discussed!
This week's play assembly was all about assessing risk. We looked at a number of pieces of play equipment that we have put out for children to use on the playground. We discussed ideas on how we use them, what are the rules, what makes them risky and what are the benefits of using them. We decided that the equipment itself is not dangerous - we make it dangerous by the way in which we may use it. We discussed what we mean by reducing the risk:
- using the equipment in a safe space
- using equipment in a safe manner
- reporting equipment to a member of the play team if it is broken or faulty
OPAL in action!
Our OPAL mentor led a whole school INSET on the 5th September for our teachers, support staff and lunchtime staff. We are all really excited to start our OPAL journey with Neil guiding us along the way.
In our first whole school assembly of the year, the children were introduced to OPAL and what lunchtimes could look like. There was excitement amongst the children and they have already started to share their ideas with the play team.
The SLT and one of our parent governors Sarah Anderson met with Neil Coleman (our OPAL mentor) to go through the OPAL audit for the first time. Our Baseline score was 36% (most schools score between 30 - 40% at baseline). As part of the audit, Neil looked at our school site and the play spaces available for our children. The feedback from the audit was that our school site had lots of potential and already well-used but the children needed to be provided with more choice all year round.